As the population ages, urinary incontinence is becoming an important health issue. In the United States, urinary incontinence had an estimated annual cost of $26 billion in 1995. The author presents a literature review to inform primary care physicians about the most current medical and surgical treatment of urge incontinence. Developments in medical research have produced oral medications that are increasingly effective in controlling the symptoms of urge incontinence. This advance has resulted in a decreasing need for surgical intervention. Although surgical therapy has not been proven to be as effective as oral medications in the treatment of urge incontinence, it is still considered to be a viable therapy in select patient populations.